US economy in growth mode; some EU data stabilises; iron ore prices rise; CBA hits new high; NZ$1 = US$0.828

Here's my quick summary of the key overnight news you need to start your day.

Firstly from the US, private sector jobs rose by 215,000 in December according to an early unofficial report. This is stronger than was expected.

US car sales were also strong. In 2012 they rose 10% in December to make 2012 the best year since 2007. And despite some early indications the holiday season would be average, retail sales look like they will actually show reasonable growth of +3.3%, although this is not evenly spread. These reports all bolster last weeks reported rise in American consumer confidence.

Also recent manufacturing reports in the US have been quite strong too. Today Boeing reported its 2012 deliveries and orders and it appears to have regained the bragging rights as the world's biggest planemaker, a title Airbus has previously held for 10 years.

In Europe there are more positive signs of a pick-up. The rise in German unemployment slowed, below expectations. And in Spain, funds appear to be flowing into that nation's banks, which is a reversal of trends in mid 2012. Perhaps these aren't really 'positive signs', just not-as-negative signs.

In Australia, it is clearly too early to call the end of the minerals boom. Australian miners are set to cash in on the resurgent iron ore price, with new statistics showing that a record volume of the commodity was exported out of Port Hedland in December.

The Commonwealth Bank's market capitalisation has risen above AU$100 billion for the first time, as the Australian share market closed to a new 19-month high on Thursday. The bank's shares rose by 52 cents to its highest-ever value of AU$63.24 as at the close of trading yesterday. The market cap for Australia's largest bank now stands at AU$101.8 billion (NZ$128.5 billion). We have previously reported that it had exceeded US$100 billion. Commonwealth Bank owns ASB and Sovereign in New Zealand. For perspective, NZ's nominal GDP in the year to September was NZ$208.3 billion.

US stocks have fallen in late trade after minutes from the Fed's FOMC showed rising concern about the risks of their policy of buying bonds to stimulate growth. This had an immediate impact on the currency.

The NZ$ starts the day at 83.2 USc and 79.2 AUc

The NZ$ is at 82.8 USc, 79 AUc and the TWI is at 74.6 as at 8:30am.

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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Too much positive news! Get Bernard back, I'd rather read about impending doom!

David certainly appears to have all pigs lined up and ready for takeoff.

"An extra $52 billion could be injected into the New Zealand stock market by 2066 if 80 per cent of workers were in KiwiSaver and the contribution rate was raised to a combined 10 per cent, according to research commissioned by a financial services lobby group".

The truth is, so little is invested in the NZX companies, that those clipping the tickets are having to fight each other for a piece of pie...and they see a future where they can get their fingers on your earnings...and all it involves is a wee matter of filling the void between Tweak's ears with thoughts of voter support for policies that promise future wealth if Kiwisaver were made it predetermined theft by govt order of the day.

We peasants can smell the stench coming from this lobby group and we know the only place to 'save' our spare income is in property, safe from company mismanagement and safe thanks to the credit creation game in play.

Wolly - Let's differentiate new investment from existing in the stock market.

"Investing " in the NZ stock market by buying shares from investor A to be owned by investor B has no impact on the companies whatsoever. They don't get the cash.

Pouring $ 39 billion into local stocks as reported on the back page of the Herald this am will sure increase the prices and create an asset bubble ( another ) but do nothing for NZ's international competitivenes or the companies.

Need to get the funds into new shares in existing companies to achieve any net benefit to NZ as distinct from benefiting the so called " brokers " who would love more shares to trade amongst themselves clipping the ticket every time.

What's good for the croupier may not be good for the gambler.

Still - there's plenty of existing crap on the NZ market for suckers to " invest"  in.

Which tree did you pick that off Ivan...?